Climate Change and Agriculture: a study for the Burnett Mary Regional Group

In this study we developed potential ‘best’ and ‘worst’ case climate change impact distribution models for future cropping, avocado and grazing using species distribution modelling software. MaxEnt predicts the probability that an area will be suitable for agricultural production based on changes in the climate variables most appropriate for each commodity.  We chose the most appropriate climatic variables based on consultations with farmers, industry, NRM representatives and published literature. We considered two Global Climate Models (GCM) under the current (baseline) climate and the A1FI emission scenario for 2025 and 2035 representing: 1) a ‘worst’ warmer and drier future (CSIRO Mk3.5) and 2) a ‘best’ cooler and wetter future (CSIRO MIROC-M).

This study found that in the Burnett Mary NRM region, cropping is predicted to contract and shift from the west to the east, but with a less pronounced eastwards shift under the cooler-wetter GCM. Areas suitable for grazing are predicted to contract in the east, and in the wetter-cooler GCM expand in the west. Avocado is predicted to contract and shift eastwards, but remain suitable in much of its current eastern range. Rainfall (May-October) was the most important predictor of cropping, maximum temperature (November) was the most important variable for avocado production and average annual temperature was the most important predictor for grazing.
Understanding the spatial changes to agriculture under future climates can inform land management decisions at various scales.



Detailed Descriptions
Case Study
Geographic and Temporal Extents
Gladstone (R), North Burnett (R), Bundaberg (R), Western Downs (R), Sunshine Coast (R), Fraser Coast (R), South Burnett (R), Gympie (R)
Burnett Mary
South Eastern Queensland, Brigalow Belt South
Start 1990/01/01 Start text End 2035/01/01 End text
Attributions and Constraints
Copyright University of Queensland
The University of Queensland
Cath Lovelock Morena Mills Christine Hosking
Global Change Institute, the University of Queensland Climate Change and Agriculture:a study for the Burnett Mary Regional Group (2014) Christine Hosking, Morena Mills and Cath Lovelock
Christine Hosking